Program of Study

The program of study at Southwest Acupuncture College is a well-rounded professional degree program designed to gradually expose the emerging practitioner to the uses of Oriental and Western medical models of the human body, as well as the underlying philosophy, theory and clinical application of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. As a classical school of Oriental medicine, the program provides a broad yet deep historical base of diagnostic approaches. These paradigms range from Yin/Yang, Five Elements, Three Treasures, Four Levels, Six Stages, and Qi and Blood, to Essential Substances, Zang Fu, and Eight Principles, versus a limited concentration in any one approach. A subspecialty in traditional and modern Japanese acupuncture is carefully woven into the program, and advanced studies in this rich lineage may be taken as electives. A wide spectrum of relevant Western sciences complements the Oriental infrastructure.

The Master’s Degree Programs in Chinese Herbal Medicine

The academic programs at Southwest Acupuncture College consists of training in the five branches of classical Oriental medicine: acupuncture, herbal medicine, physical therapy, nutrition, and exercise/breathing therapy. The greatest number of hours are devoted to the study and practice of acupuncture and herbal medicine, with the balance of the hours completing the students' education in graduate level studies in Oriental medicine and Western science. Upon graduation, the college confers the Combined Master of Acupuncture and Master of Chinese Herbal Medicine (M.Ac/M.C.H.M.) degree. The M.Ac/M.C.H.M. degree consists of 3092.5 hours. The college also offers the Master of Acupuncture (M.Ac.) degree which consists of 2525.5 hours and does not include the herbal program. The identical programs are taught at all three campuses.

Both campuses operate on a yearly schedule of three fifteen-week semesters. With the exception of electives, classes are held only in the daytime. Clinic is held both in the day and the evening. While course times are set, the college clinic runs many shifts from which the students may select so that reasonable flexibility is built into the program to accommodate individual student needs.

The professional degree program, which is the equivalent of four academic years, can be taken in one of three formats. The accelerated format, our most popular option, requires approximately twenty-two to twenty-four hours of course work per week. It allows for completion in three calendar years. The full-time format takes four calendar years to finish and requires sixteen to nineteen hours of coursework per week. This option permits students to have a lighter schedule while still allowing for a reasonable completion time. The part-time format is an option the students can take advantage of if financial burdens or other responsibilities require the student’s attention, or if the student prefers to study at a more gradual pace. Part-time study necessitates a minimum of nine to ten hours per week of class attendance. In all cases, part-time study must be completed within seven years of entry to the program. Regardless of the pace selected by the student, the quality of the educational experience at Southwest Acupuncture College is always the aim of the education, not the acceleration of studies.



The Combined Master of Acupuncture and Master of Chinese Herbal Medicine

The M.Ac/M.C.H.M. consists of training in the five branches of classical Oriental medicine: acupuncture, herbal medicine, physical therapy, nutrition, and exercise/breathing therapy. The majority of the program is devoted to the study and practice of acupuncture and herbal medicine. Students also complete graduate-level studies in Oriental medicine and Western science. The M.Ac/MCHM degree meets the requirements for licensure in all states, including California, with the addition of extra clinic hours and Western science electives required by the State of California.


The Master of Acupuncture

The M.Ac. program is a specialized subset of the M.Ac/M.C.H.M. program that allows students to focus on acupuncture without the herbal component of the M.Ac/M.C.H.M. degree. The M.Ac. program includes an Introduction to Herbology course surveying the power of Chinese herbs in practice (to facilitate referral), plus three acupuncture specialty courses. Thirty-nine states, including Colorado (but not New Mexico or California), allow licensing for acupuncture-only programs. Information regarding state laws and program options can be obtained from the Academic Dean.

Programs OverviewMAc/MCHMMAc
Program Hours3092.52525.5
Clinical Hours1262.51042.5
Biomedical Clinical Science Hours600553
Oriental Medical Theory and Related Subjects705885
Pure Herbal Classes52545
Minimum Time to Complete Program36 months (accelerated)36 months
Maximum Time to Complete Program8 years6 years
Continuing Education

In addition to the degree-granting program, Southwest Acupuncture College provides continuing education in the profession by offering various optional weekend and special engagement seminars with international authorities, classes in specialty topics, and foreign study externships.

Qualified members of the public, graduates, and licensed practitioners as well as students enrolled in the Master’s program may elect to take these classes and seminars. Details describing specialty workshops, visiting faculty and foreign externship programs are available in separate literature, when those programs are advertised and are available upon request. This information can also be found on this web site under Events.

Seminar certificates are provided to everyone who attends any workshop at Southwest Acupuncture College. Credit is only granted for attendance at an entire workshop.

Click here to see upcoming continuing education events.